THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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Toronto Star - Oct. 2, 2009 - EDITORIAL
McCallion's conflictFor 31 years, Hazel McCallion has been an exemplary mayor of Mississauga, running the city with competence and integrity.
Nonetheless, Mississauga residents deserve a full and open look into the mayor's alleged conflict of interest in a $14.4 million land deal involving her son. The integrity of the municipal government is at stake. That's why a majority of Mississauga city council was correct to vote this week for a judicial review of this tangled matter.
The mayor argues that she did nothing wrong in repeatedly attending private meetings on a proposed deal for a major hotel complex being brokered by her son, Peter McCallion. She says it was enough on her part to declare a conflict when the matter came before council. Perhaps she is right, and perhaps it was just an oversight that she failed to declare a conflict on one occasion when the matter was before council.
On the other hand, a legal opinion requested by council from a Toronto law firm may be correct in suggesting that McCallion broke conflict-of-interest rules that are meant to protect the public. A wider review, by a trusted judge, should help get to the bottom of this matter.
City staff has been instructed by council to report back with recommended terms of reference for that judicial review. A probe that takes a broad approach would best serve the public. Full transparency is needed to restore residents' trust in the system.
Included in the judge's investigation should be a look into why the official minutes of a May 21, 2008, council meeting list McCallion as declaring a conflict of interest when the video record of the meeting shows she did not do so. No satisfactory explanation has yet been offered for the discrepancy in the written minutes.
Looking beyond the current issue involving the mayor, Mississauga would also be well-advised to put in place a system for overseeing future conflict-of-interest cases. As Canada's sixth largest city, it is time Mississauga joined other major municipalities – including Toronto and, yes, Vaughan – in appointing an integrity commissioner.
Comments by others, 8, to this web-page;
An experienced politician
Mayor McCallion is an experienced politician. She knows the rules and should have never participated in any private meeting regarding a project in which her son has a financial interest. Furthermore, how could we promote a higher standard of integrity in our politcians when breaches of rules are condoned -as on this froum- on the basis of "giving a slack". This citizenry of apologists are doing a disservice to citizens who advocate for and expect the highest norms of integrity in the conduct of public business.
Submitted by DeMusset at 6:04 AM Saturday, October 03 2009
time for hazel to step down
it happens to all of them - there comes a time to leave (miller, sundin, and now hazel)
Submitted by gonzo at 9:42 PM Friday, October 02 2009
That's all this is!
Submitted by Turkman at 7:14 PM Friday, October 02 2009
* Agree 3 - Disagree 3
This isn't about....
her white hair or her track record, this is about whether a politican participated in situations which could have resulted in $ 14,000,000 bounced into her son's bank account and how/why the video doesn't square with the official minutes. A judicial inquiry is essential in order to maintain the integrity of our governance model. No exceptions.
Submitted by Canadian at 12:01 PM Friday, October 02 2009
* Agree 5 - Disagree 5
Given her excellent record .............
I'm willing to give Hazel McCallion, the best mayor Canada has ever known, the benefit of the doubt. In fact, until I see a smoking gun in her hand and her admit she did something wrong, I'm still in her corner. What, like video "evidence" has never been tampered with before? And, considering who is behind the whole thing, Carolyn Parrish, I'm again backing the mayor ! As a resident of Mississauga for almost all of my 46 years I have NEVER seen a more trustworthy politician anywhere.
Submitted by Chas_AM at 11:15 AM Friday, October 02 2009
* Agree 4 - Disagree 3
OH Yes and we all know how reliable Video is...
Video in the "WAFER-GATE" scandal was so effective, wasn't it. Declaration of a conflict is necessary and how it got recorded in the official records is what is at issue here. As for counting on video evidence, it is not the panacea on which to hang your hat when it comes to this..at least not until such systems are properly installed and used...which I doubt is the case.
Submitted by Eggie at 10:04 AM Friday, October 02 2009
* Agree 4 - Disagree 2
How could she not have known?
"The mayor argues that she did nothing wrong..." When a politician trots out the "I did nothing wrong" defense, you just know that a judicial inquiry is justified. Rules aside, how could an experienced and intelligent person not know when they're in a conflict of interest?
Submitted by sciencguy at 9:45 AM Friday, October 02 2009
* Agree 4 - Disagree 4
The Municipal Conflict Of Interest Act Has Clear Guidelines In Place...
There is currently provincial legislation that deals with this issue. The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, an act of the Ontario Legislature, clearly states that a municipal politician must declare a conflict of interest at all municipal meetings where they (or an immediate family member) could potentially benefit from a municipal decision financially. A case must be brought to a judge within three months of being made aware of the violation and the penalties are severe (loss of office, fines, etc.). In the case of Queen Hazel, the issue is not whether she did so or not, but how did the conflict declaration get in the minutes while the videotape of the proceedings shows otherwise (and whether this been done before). The Mayor's contributions to Mississauga notwithstanding, the potential conflict is a serious question that must be addressed in a court of law...
Submitted by Larry Perlman at 9:05 AM Friday, October 02 2009
* Agree 5 - Disagree 4
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